Holly Ross wrote a good reflection piece about public conversations on blogs and how to get your audience ready for that conversation. She makes the point:
What I am saying is that your audience may not be ready to have the conversation that social media enables. That's because social media does not just enable conversations. It enables PUBLIC conversations.
I think we have to remember that it takes time build the community to have the conversation and that it doesn't happen right away. You have to be ready as conversation facilitator. Alexandra Samuel did a workshop called "Bringing Your Community to Life" at Netsquared and offered some terrific practical advice about you get the conversation started.
Some key points:
Key points to encourage participation:
- Focus on promoting conversation
- Make it happen, don't wait for it
- Connect like-minded participants
- Connect complimentary threads
- Plan pro-actively, implement reactively
And once you activate the conversation, your organization needs to be ready to embrace it. While NetSquared was taking place, another event There's A New Conversation - described as "reflecting on the past 10 years since the publication of the Cluetrain Manifesto and what the next 10 years will be like as more and more of us defect from marketing and join the conversation!" was taking place. Jeremiah Owyang gave a presentation at the event and it was live blogged here.
Much of it comes from the Groundswell book and I am familiar with the content. A new nugget of insight was about how to deal with detractors. Here's the advice from the notes:
Dealing with Detractors.
- Have resources ready. Staff, processes, resources, etc.
- 5 types of detractors. Legit complainers, competitor, engaged critic, flamers, and troublemakers (trolls). For trolls, ignore them, or figure out how to expel them from the community.
- Listing of why they make trouble, how to recognize them, and what you should do for each type.
- What goes wrong? Sue, shut them down, disregard, freeze, don't engage.
I wrote about dealing with criticism a while back when a colleague mentioned having to address this on social media sites. I'm curious if how nonprofits that are switched to conversations are dealing with detractors? Have you interacted with these different types of attractors? Care to share your experience? What's your advice?